“Looming cholera upsurge in Accra” – Dr Appiah-Denkyira

Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, on Monday warned that there could be an upsurge of cholera cases in Accra and surrounding areas if safety measures are not strictly adhered to.

He said although the last two weeks of May did not record a single case of the disease, the June 3, floods that resulted in the deaths of about 152 people had led to eight cases of cholera.

Dr Appiah-Denkyira, who was speaking in an exclusive interview with the Ghana News Agency GNA) in Accra, said out of the number, five were recorded from Adabraka Down near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, two from La Nkwantanang Municipal and one case from the Ablekuma sub-Metro all in the Greater Accra Region.

Last year, a nationwide outbreak of cholera recorded a total of 28,975 cases, out of which 243 deaths were recorded.

The outbreaks were registered from 130 out of the 216 districts of the country.

In 2015, a total of 601 cases have so far been recorded with five deaths from 31 districts in eight regions.

Out of the number, eight of the cases were recorded in Accra between June 3 and June 13 this year.

Dr Appiah-Denkyira, who attributed the possible upsurge to floods, inadequate supply of safe water, street vending of water and food, poor solid and liquid waste disposal, urban slums and poor food and personal hygiene, called on the District Health Directorates to step up educational programmes on the disease, by calling for laboratory test for all suspected cases in their jurisdiction.

He also called on the Regional and District Directorates of Health to step up Rapid Diagnostic Test for all cases and the use of Rapid Response Teams, made up of; Environmental officers to follow up to the homes and communities of all confirmed cases to implement Water, Sanitation and hygiene(WASH) interventions.

The Director General called for the rehabilitation of broken down cholera treatment centres in the Greater Accra Region to ensure proper and effective management of cases.

Dr Appiah-Denkyira also appealed to the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing and the Ghana Water Company to ensure the constant supply of safe chlorinated water to affected communities either through tanker service or through the pipes.

He urged all those using wells as their source of drinking water to raise their walls so that floods from the rains would not find its way into the wells.

“Those buying fresh vegetables should also wash them thoroughly before eating since most of the floods covers the vegetable farms in times of heavy rains in the country”.

He gave the assurance that the Ghana Health Service would continue with jingles and announcements to caution people on the disease and called on other stakeholders to play their roles effectively to avoid further spread of the perennial disease.

The Director General also appealed to the Ministry of Local Government and the Food and Drugs Authority to enforce bye-laws on environmental sanitation, water and food safety by targeting food and water vendors to avoid the repetition of past errors. GNA

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